By Miko Peled – Jul 12, 2022
Washington, D.C. – There is a line in a famous Hebrew poem written in 1903 by one of the most important Jewish poets Haim Nachman Bialik, which reads (loosely translated):
כִּי-קָרָא אֲדֹנָי לָאָבִיב וְלַטֶּבַח גַּם-יָחַד
הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ זָרְחָה, הַשִּׁטָּה פָּרְחָה וְהַשּׁוֹחֵט שָׁחַט
“God has commanded the spring and the slaughter together
The sun rose, the tree blossomed and the butcher slaughtered.”
I am reminded of this line as I watch the preparations and the analysis surrounding the upcoming visit of U.S. president Joe Biden to Israel and Saudi Arabia. The fanfare goes on and at the same time the killing of Palestinians continues uninterrupted.
The Israeli newspapers dedicate a great deal to reporting on the length of the red carpet (75 meters, or about 245 feet), and to the enormous efforts by the Israeli police and other security agencies to ensure that the visit goes ahead without any glitches.
Similarly, there is analysis of what may be expected from this trip. The latest star to rise in the Israeli political arena is retired general Gadi Eizenkot, former chief of staff of the Israeli army, the IDF. As with every retired army chief, speculations as to his political career and the promise that he will bring have been going on since before he actually retired in 2019 and began his “cooling off” period.
In a well publicized event at an Israeli national security forum, Eizenkot advised to “lower expectations” regarding the upcoming Biden visit. One would do well to lower expectations regarding what this retired general and army chief, who is one of many, and what he may bring to the table once he entered politics. Currently he is expected to join another retired general and former IDF chief, Benny Gantz, who is currently the Israeli minister of defense.
The big boss is back
As all of this is taking place, Benjamin Netanyahu, the “big boss” of Israeli politics, the one who is seen as the only adult in a room of petulant children, is planning his return in a big way to the prime minister’s office. In his current role as head of the opposition, Netanyahu will be meeting with Biden during his visit to occupied Jerusalem.
Meanwhile Netanyahu said in a statement that if elected he will sign a peace treaty with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states that will “bring us to the end of the Israeli-Arab conflict.” He added that the Arab leaders who are not yet part of the Abraham Accords are waiting for him to lead the way. This, Netanyahu claims, will prove to the naysayers of the world that the Abrahamic Accords (which were signed in his previous tenure as prime minister), were successful and that the Palestinian rejection was ineffective.
Netanyahu’s timing is no coincidence as he wants to make sure that any credit Trump might claim for the Abraham Accords – or Biden might claim if Saudi Arabia signs on – will be directed towards him. Netanyahu will not sit idly by as other politicians take credit or enjoy the limelight while he waits in the shadows of the opposition. It is also unlikely that any agreement that may be reached with Saudi Arabia will be ratified by the Knesset – Israel’s House of Representatives – before the next elections take place in November 2022.
The butcher slaughters
Setting aside for a minute the politics, preparations and diplomatic protocol, none of this will provide even one iota of relief to Palestinians. Not one home demolition in the Naqab will be prevented, not one child in Gaza will have better access to life saving medicine, and not one Palestinian prisoner will see the light of day. Furthermore, Palestine will not be closer to the freedom it deserves and for which it has been yearning for decades.
In fact, the Israeli butchery with all of its might will continue to oppress, arrest, torture, demolish, destory, kill and otherwise continue to operate the brutal apartheid system that it imposes on Palestine. While the fanfare of the presidential visit will be heralded as a success – failure is not an option – and both Biden and the new Israeli prime minister, Yair Lapid, will use images of their visit together for their upcoming campaigns, Palestinians will continue to bleed with no end in sight.
It is safe to say that every Palestinian wants to see their country free. It is also fair to say that regardless of what people see as politically realistic, when Palestinians think of their country, they don’t imagine a small percentage of it but rather all of historic Palestine. We would also not be exaggerating if we said that every Palestinian parent wants to live in their country safely and raise their children in a fair, equal and prosperous Palestine.
The vision of a free, democratic, prosperous Palestine is the wish and the vision of both political and non-politically active Palestinians. It is true that in Palestine existence is resistance, so how active someone may be politically is not a measure of their commitment to seeing their country free.
Palestinian activists on the ground from the Naqab in the south to the Galilee in the north share a vision and risk their lives every day to achieve this dream. Biden’s vision and the upcoming Israeli elections want to overshadow both the goals and the heroic work of Palestinians on the ground. Israeli politicians have said time and again that they must crush Palestinians and whatever dreams they may have of a future.
Spring in Palestine is spectacular and it is true that as the poet said, spring comes even as the butcher slaughters, and the sight of these two happening side by side is an awful one. Biden and Zionists like him who believe in apartheid and who support the injustice, the lack of tolerance, and the hate and killing that Israel perpetrates cannot be allowed to win.
Palestine was a thriving country with a rich history and spectacular beauty. It must be allowed to enjoy spring without fear of the butcher.
Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”